Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
The New York Mets
2007-05-18 13:14
by Cliff Corcoran
Note: The Bronx Banter blog has moved to

Today's back cover of the New York Post: "Flyin & Dying"

That I don't have to tell you which New York team is which is about all you need to know about this series, in which the Yankees catch the Mets top three starters and return serve with Andy Pettitte, Darrell Rasner, and maybe Chien-Ming Wang on short rest, maybe Chase Wright, maybe a luck fan . . .

Note the roster below. The Mets have been hit hard by injuries, but they still have the best record in the NL and the second best record in baseball. It's a bad day in the Bronx when the top two records in MLB belong to Boston and that team from Queens. If the Mets don't make the World Series this year, Willie Randolph will have 'splainin' to do.

New York Mets

2006 Record: 97-65 (.599)
2006 Pythagorean Record: 91-71 (.562)

Manager: Willie Randolph
General Manager: Omar Minaya

Home Ballpark (2006 Park Factors): Shea Stadium (95/96)

Who's Replacing Whom?

Moises Alou replaces Cliff Floyd (on the DL!)
Shawn Green takes over Xavier Nady's playing time
Damion Easley replaces Chris Woodward
Carlos Gomez replaces Lastings Milledge (minors)
David Newhan replaces Kaz Matsui
Ruben Gotay is holding Jose Valentin's place (DL)
Oliver Perez replaces Steve Trachsel
John Maine takes the starts of Alay Soler, Brian Bannister, Dave Williams (DL), and Victor Zambrano
Jorge Sosa is holding Orlando Hernandez's place (DL)
Jason Vargas is holding Pedro Martinez's place (DL)
Joe Smith replaces Chad Bradford
Scott Schoeneweis replaces Darren Oliver
Aaron Sele replaces Heath Bell and Roberto Hernandez
Ambiorix Burgos replaces Duaner Sanchez

25-man Roster:

1B – Carlos Delgado (L)
2B – Damion Easley (R)
SS – Jose Reyes (S)
3B – David Wright (R)
C – Paul Lo Duca (R)
RF – Shawn Green (L)
CF – Carlos Beltran (S)
LF – Endy Chavez (L)


R - Julio Franco (1B)
R - Carlos Gomez (OF)
L - David Newhan (UT)
S - Ruben Gotay (IF)
R - Ramon Castro (C)


L - Tom Glavine
R - John Maine
R - Jorge Sosa
L - Jason Vargas
L - Oliver Perez


L - Billy Wagner
R - Aaron Heilman
R - Joe Smith
L - Scott Schoeneweis
L - Pedro Feliciano
R - Aaron Sele
R - Ambiorix Burgos

15-day DL: R - Moises Alou (OF), S - Jose Valentin (2B), R - Pedro Martinez, R - Orlando Hernandez, R - Duaner Sanchez, R - Juan Padilla, L - Dave Williams

Typical Lineup:

S - Jose Reyes (SS)
L - Endy Chavez (LF)
S - Carlos Beltran (CF)
L - Carlos Delgado (1B)
R - David Wright (3B)
L - Shawn Green (RF)
R - Paul Lo Duca (C)
R - Damion Easley (2B)

Comments (250)
Show/Hide Comments 1-50
2007-05-18 13:36:37
1.   pistolpete
I read a few rumors about Clippard for Sunday - any basis to that?
2007-05-18 13:41:57
2.   jkay
Melky in RF, Phelps at 1B.

Abreu and Giambi benched.

2007-05-18 14:09:59
3.   tommyl
Let the pain begin. Oh wait, optimism...ummm...let the pain maybe begin?
2007-05-18 14:38:16
4.   JL25and3
3 Let the pain begin, but let it be slightly reduced.
2007-05-18 14:51:00
5.   Marcus
The bright side is that if the Yanks come back and get first place, it will be a huge triumph and enormously entertaining to watch. Even if they make it to the wild card, they'll have just as good a shot at winning the World Series as any of the other teams, and it will probably be a tight race, which is more stressful, but also more fun to watch.

If they don't, it seems like we're all prepared for the worst already.

2007-05-18 15:03:14
6.   C2Coke
3 Hasn't the pain begun already?

I don't know about Willie Randolph, but we almost 99% certain that a few words can be substituted for the same phrase:

"If the [Yankees] don't make the World Series this year, [Joe Torre] will have [lot of free time on his hands next year.]

2007-05-18 15:04:54
7.   Dimelo
5 It'd be great if the Yanks get in via the wild-card and win it all. I bet you'll see every team screaming for rule changes, as far as the wild-card is concerned. You'll hear, "the wild-card team should be put at a bigger disadvantage, it's unfair to see the Yankees and their bloated payroll back-in to the playoffs and win the world series."

I can see it now....but no time to worry about the playoffs, must remain positive.

2007-05-18 15:34:13
8.   jkay
Blue and white on Monday night!

Empire State Building to light series
Famous American landmark will highlight Mets-Yanks matchup

Starting on Friday, the north and south sides of the building will be lit in Yankees blue and white, while its east and west sides will be lit in Mets blue and orange.

To the victor will go the spoils. The team that wins the series will have its colors displayed on all four sides of the tower on Monday.

2007-05-18 15:47:54
9.   seamus
mlb baseball investigating Giambi for asking them to apologize is kind of funny.
2007-05-18 15:53:42
10.   Mattpat11
2007-05-18 15:59:37
11.   3rd gen yankee fan
8 Well that's creative!
2007-05-18 16:05:13
12.   Zack
Oh man, we have to watch the mets feed on since its at Shea...
2007-05-18 16:12:03
13.   Mattpat11
What a start
2007-05-18 16:12:55
14.   Yankees Brasil
Good god JD..
2007-05-18 16:19:19
15.   Mattpat11
Gonna be one of those games.
2007-05-18 16:19:44
16.   Yankees Brasil
1 hit and 2 walks and nothing to show for..
2007-05-18 16:21:16
17.   Mattpat11
16 See 15
2007-05-18 16:21:42
18.   JeremyM
Boy, another frustrating inning. Sad part is I expected it, so I'm not disappointed! Hopefully they'll get it together.
2007-05-18 16:21:50
19.   bartap74
I grew up as a Yankee fan in Queens in the 80s, so I had to endure a lot of years where the Mets were contending and the Yankees...were not quite there. As a result, I grew up with two favorite teams - the Yankees and whoever is playing the Mets on a given day. Being too young to appreciate the Boston/Yankee rivalry from the late 70s, I rooted with all my heart for the Red Sox in the 86 series. I actually cried a little when the Mets won (I was 12, give me a break). All this is to say, there is no team I want the Yankees to beat more than the Mets. I just hope this is the beginning of the comeback.
2007-05-18 16:22:54
20.   Mattpat11
I could give a shit about the Subway Series. Just beat whomever is in front of you.
2007-05-18 16:24:14
21.   Mattpat11
Al Leiter is trying to justify Easley's career.
2007-05-18 16:24:15
22.   bartap74
20 Let me guess, you didn't get beaten up as a little kid for being a Yankee fan, right?
2007-05-18 16:24:39
23.   Yankees Brasil
20 Agreed!
2007-05-18 16:26:14
24.   Mattpat11
22 Actually, interleague play every single year has totally killed whatever novelty it once had.Its routine.

We play the effing Pirates this year for Christ sakes.

2007-05-18 16:26:30
25.   Mattpat11
2007-05-18 16:26:50
26.   Yankees Brasil
24 Hope we can beat them.
2007-05-18 16:27:36
27.   bartap74
FYI - Red Sox have been rained out.
2007-05-18 16:28:00
28.   Mattpat11
2007-05-18 16:33:17
29.   jkay
Rocket looking good thru 2.
2007-05-18 16:33:48
30.   Mattpat11
Melky have an anchor on his ass?
2007-05-18 16:35:33
31.   OldYanksFan
3 pitches, 2 outs. First pitching swinging Phelps?
2007-05-18 16:36:23
32.   Mattpat11
I'll call it right now.

Perez 8 IP 3 H 9 Ks.

2007-05-18 16:37:09
33.   OldYanksFan
It's had to know, as I haven't read anything.
On a grading scale of A - F, how does Phelps rate defensively at 1B? (I heard at catcher he was an F)
2007-05-18 16:38:07
34.   OldYanksFan
Hey guys... we need to send some positive energy to Queens.

Yanks Bats break out in the 5th.

2007-05-18 16:41:58
35.   Schteeve
34 I'm with you, I think Andy is going to homer leading off the inning.
2007-05-18 16:45:50
36.   Mattpat11
34 I don't believe I can will the Yankees into playing competently.
2007-05-18 16:48:47
37.   Mattpat11
I hate them all.
2007-05-18 16:50:52
38.   Mattpat11
2007-05-18 16:50:56
39.   Schteeve
If I were Torre, I'd bench Posada, Jeter, and A-Rod. And make the rest of these guys try to score some runs.
2007-05-18 16:54:45
40.   Mattpat11
Who is the Yankees outfield coach?
2007-05-18 16:59:08
41.   OldYanksFan
RCNB. Posada is finding every hole.
2007-05-18 17:00:59
42.   OldYanksFan
39 Have you seen ARod's numbers in his last 30 ABs?
2007-05-18 17:01:10
43.   BklynBmr
...and MatsZilla answers the wake up call!
2007-05-18 17:01:17
44.   randym77
Go go Godzilla!

Hit-deki strikes again...

2007-05-18 17:02:05
45.   Mattpat11
42 He's had a rough month
2007-05-18 17:03:00
46.   Yankees Brasil
45 put it nicely.
2007-05-18 17:03:01
47.   Yankees Brasil
45 put it nicely.
2007-05-18 17:03:08
48.   BklynBmr
45 Not easy carrying 24 guys around for a month. He needed a breather...
2007-05-18 17:03:42
49.   OldYanksFan
Mats says Sayonara
2007-05-18 17:04:50
50.   Schteeve
42 At least he's done something this year.
Show/Hide Comments 51-100
2007-05-18 17:08:12
51.   OldYanksFan
Andy is a warrior!
2007-05-18 17:11:09
52.   Schteeve
I don't know about the rest of you guys but I sure am glad we got Pettitte back.
2007-05-18 17:20:47
53.   seamus
2007-05-18 17:21:29
54.   Mattpat11
Before the game, I told my father that when the Yankees lose tonight, it would be Chavez that beats them.
2007-05-18 17:22:07
55.   seamus
54 only problem is the yankees are not going to lose.
2007-05-18 17:22:43
56.   Mattpat11
55 You have to assume the Yankees will lose. Its what they're good at.
2007-05-18 17:23:59
57.   OldYanksFan
56 I can recommend some good Mets and Red Sox blogs for you.
2007-05-18 17:24:15
58.   seamus
56 if the yankees were good at losing they wouldn't be anywhere near .500. that is just a nonsenical thing to say.
2007-05-18 17:25:09
59.   seamus
2007-05-18 17:25:17
60.   Marcus
56 Wow, makes you wonder why you even bother watching.
2007-05-18 17:28:19
61.   Mattpat11
I'd much rather expect nothing and be pleasantly surprised than expect something and get let down.
2007-05-18 17:29:50
62.   OldYanksFan
I think Giambi's heel is worst then we are hearing about. It's a major bummer.
2007-05-18 17:31:20
63.   OldYanksFan
Expecting nothing is great. However, you said you expect them to lose.
2007-05-18 17:32:02
64.   OldYanksFan
ARod fishing
2007-05-18 17:32:10
65.   Mattpat11
63 Losing is nothing.
2007-05-18 17:32:42
66.   OldYanksFan
Ouch... missed a really nice pitch...
2007-05-18 17:33:09
67.   seamus
65 if losing were nothing it wouldn't matter to us so much when they lose. Fortunately, the Yankees are going to win tonight!
2007-05-18 17:38:52
68.   JimCobain
61 Yikes! If that's the way you think about life, maybe you should talk to someone...

But I think you're doing the typical fan, "anti-praying" root for the worst, secretly hope for the best, and if they do badly you are still upset.

Rooting is essentially broken into three sections, "hope" "think/gut" and "result". And each section has only two outcomes (we're not talking about ties). Those outcomes are "positive" and "negative". You can control hope, so you might as well make it a positive. The other, two are up for grabs. Might as well make a third of you rooting positive, because if the other two happen to be negative what's the point?

For the Yankees this year I am hoping for the best (positive), thinking they can win the wild card if they start winning soon (positive) and we'll see what the result is. So far I'm ahead 2 of 3 in the "root" equation.

For more on my theories of rooting please visit or come see my lecture at Iona this Saturday, there will be pound cake and coffee.

2007-05-18 17:41:54
69.   Marcus
Andy's pitching efficiently tonight. Aside from the Chavez homer, he's doing quite well.
2007-05-18 17:43:32
70.   Mattpat11
68 I hope for the best. I go into every game hoping they will eventually break out of it and start playing well.

But at the same time I can't just ignore what's actually going on with this team. They're been awful and have dug an enormous hole from themselves.

2007-05-18 17:43:36
71.   Marcus
68 Nice!
2007-05-18 17:46:44
72.   OldYanksFan
70 Every day is a new day. This teams is always on the threshold of ripping off 10 in a row.
2007-05-18 17:46:53
73.   Marcus
Phelps blast coming. He's due.
2007-05-18 17:48:33
74.   seamus
73 one of those hard hit ground balls that isn't a DP unless it is hard hit. argh!


2007-05-18 17:49:07
75.   OldYanksFan
Phelps has hit into a lot of loud outs. He gets good wood on the ball consistantly.

I wonder if the guy could learn to play RF.

2007-05-18 17:52:42
76.   Mattpat11
70 Not new enough. Every day starts with a massive deficit.
2007-05-18 17:56:05
77.   seamus
ah, missed that. did andy get them?
2007-05-18 17:56:59
78.   Mattpat11
2007-05-18 17:57:21
79.   seamus
78 thanks.
2007-05-18 17:59:47
80.   Mattpat11
Great job Bobby. Andy certainly couldn't have done THAT. Maybe next time The Mets will set up a tee for you.
2007-05-18 18:03:55
81.   seamus
I'm all about this game. I am feelin' it.

no idea where it is coming from. it just feels right.

2007-05-18 18:04:22
82.   Mattpat11
81 Its gas.
2007-05-18 18:04:52
83.   seamus
2007-05-18 18:05:46
84.   seamus
joe smith is a made up name. no one is actually called joe smith are they?
2007-05-18 18:06:21
85.   Mattpat11
In the spirit of being positive, I predict a big hit off Billy Wagner tonight.
2007-05-18 18:08:50
86.   Mattpat11
Strike Three just landed in my living room.
2007-05-18 18:08:59
87.   seamus
arod in the 9th!
2007-05-18 18:11:29
88.   Marcus
84 Well, there's Joe Smith the basketball player. And if you check Wikipedia, there's Joe Smith the soccer player, Joe Smith the football player, Joe Smith the Missouri politician, Joe Smith the Florida politician, Joe Smith the mathematician, Joe Smith the different kind of mathematician, and Joe Smith the statistician.
2007-05-18 18:11:40
89.   JL25and3
70 My mantra at work is: I keep my hopes high and my expectations low. I think that works here as well.

But for those who want to focus on the positive, I'll offer this: this one could come in at 2-1/2 hours, a nice quick loss.

2007-05-18 18:12:07
90.   OldYanksFan
4-13 in 1 and 2 run games. That's a big part of our failure so far this year. That won't last.

We need to bench Abreu. Maybe DL him and bring up KT for 2 weeks. I have more faith in Nieves then Abreu these days.

2007-05-18 18:13:12
91.   JL25and3
88 And they're all lying.

Of course, there's also Joseph Smith, the prophet or moonbat, depending on your perspective.

2007-05-18 18:13:16
92.   seamus
88 yeah, that was sort of tongue in cheek.
2007-05-18 18:13:37
93.   OldYanksFan
Why are pitches jussssssst outside that are balls, called strikes? What good is a great batting eye when the umps are bline?
2007-05-18 18:14:18
94.   Marcus
92 I know, mine was too, but probably lost unless you're a Simpsons fan.
2007-05-18 18:14:51
95.   seamus
i saw that and did a "he hit that?"
2007-05-18 18:15:25
96.   seamus
94 don't watch enough i guess...
2007-05-18 18:17:29
97.   Marcus
96 I watch too much, no worries.

Back to the game. Proctor is looking very nice.

2007-05-18 18:17:37
98.   seamus
proctor the doctor looked good.
2007-05-18 18:18:22
99.   EB in LA
" I know, mine was too, but probably lost unless you're a Simpsons fan."

Deep Space Homer

2007-05-18 18:18:30
100.   seamus
here it is yo!
Show/Hide Comments 101-150
2007-05-18 18:19:18
101.   Marcus
99 Bingo!
2007-05-18 18:20:48
102.   Marcus
At the peak of A-ROd's insane start I remember reading how he wasn't hitting balls on the ground at all. His season surely has taken a 180 turn in the last few weeks.
2007-05-18 18:20:52
103.   seamus
my predictive powers are failing me. c'mon hip hip!
2007-05-18 18:21:27
104.   Mattpat11
I have no idea what this umpire is going to call anything tonight
2007-05-18 18:21:56
105.   tommyl
Look at the bright side, the Sox got rained out so we can only be 10 back in a few minutes. Sigh.
2007-05-18 18:24:58
106.   Marcus
2007-05-18 18:25:38
107.   Mattpat11
Matsui wasn't close to being out there.
2007-05-18 18:25:45
108.   bartap74
Wow - a slumping Giambi brought in to face a very tough lefty.
2007-05-18 18:28:31
109.   tommyl
Good AB from Giambi here. Makes me miss when Bobby could do that too.
2007-05-18 18:28:43
110.   williamnyy23
Oh well...I guess not posting on the Banter didn't help.

Yet another 2:20 game...I'm sorry, but I just don't see a full effort. The team pretty much looks like it is sleep walking through every game. It's almost as if they collectively quit once they fall behind. That might be strong, but it sure looks that way.

72 83 I imagine you've been forcing yourself to be positive just to counteract the negativity, but do you honestly feel like this team is on the verge? If the players on the bench look like someone shot their dog, how can you be so positive?

2007-05-18 18:28:47
111.   Marcus
At least it's a battle.
2007-05-18 18:29:22
112.   tommyl
Ballgame over, the Yaaaaannnnnnkeeeeeeessssss lose. Sigh.
2007-05-18 18:29:51
113.   OldYanksFan
110 I, for one, did not miss your commentary
2007-05-18 18:30:04
114.   Mattpat11
I've said this a dozen times this year, but maybe THIS is rock bottom? Please? This is fucking embarrassing.
2007-05-18 18:30:09
115.   EB in LA
Next question:


Dave Miley?

2007-05-18 18:30:09
116.   seamus
110 i don't need to force myself to root for my team. what kind of person needs to do that?
2007-05-18 18:30:43
117.   Simone
Such is life. The Yankees are what their record says that they are.
2007-05-18 18:31:13
118.   williamnyy23
113 I'll refrain from replying with a petty and snide remark and leave that low brow approach to you.
2007-05-18 18:32:38
119.   Mattpat11
At least ten is a nice round number.
2007-05-18 18:32:46
120.   williamnyy23
116 To root, not? But to be positive, yes, sometimes you do have to force yourself. If your sentiment was real, I apologize. I just don't see what there is to feel good about.
2007-05-18 18:32:53
121.   cult of basebaal
99 just remember, in a way, we're both winners. but in another more accurate way, the mets are the winners

oddly enough, ICR (Inanimate Carbon Rod), in reference to that Simpsons episode, has been the BTF nickname for A-Rod for a couple of seasons ...

bugger ... lousy start to the weekend

2007-05-18 18:33:35
122.   jkay
This team is a sad failure.
2007-05-18 18:34:02
123.   Mattpat11
You think Joe Torre can knock over a buffet table tonight? Something? This team looks bored.
2007-05-18 18:35:01
124.   seamus
120 i don't. when have you EVER seen something to feel good about?
2007-05-18 18:36:12
125.   williamnyy23
123 Torre was pretty much catatonic on the bench. I can imagine him mustering any emotion now that the game is over.
2007-05-18 18:36:51
126.   Marcus
121 Yes! If the Yankees have to lose, at least we can break out the Simpsons quotes to make it a little more fun.

Funny that they call A-Rod ICR since the ICR seems to get unwarranted praise. Usually the other way around for A-Rod. I guess it's more the "rod" than anything else.

2007-05-18 18:37:55
127.   williamnyy23
124 Let's see...just about every season from 1993 up until this one. I guess I'm taking a more realistic approach to being a fan.
2007-05-18 18:38:08
128.   Marcus
125 When does Torre act any other way?
2007-05-18 18:38:34
129.   Mattpat11
125 I think they've broken him.
2007-05-18 18:40:19
130.   seamus
127 lol!
2007-05-18 18:41:15
131.   Mattpat11
124 What is there to be positive about? Hopefully this is the 59 Yankees and not the 65 Yankees. Thats positive I guess.
2007-05-18 18:42:19
132.   williamnyy23
125 I meant I can't imagine him mustering any emotion, which pretty much is in line with your comment.

Emotion really isn't important though...I'd settle for him putting on some kind of play. Jeter led of the 6th inning and was anchored at you think maybe we could try a hit and run or have Jeter steal a base. Torre has pretty much been on auto pilot. Usually that's what you want from Joe, but with the bats struggling, a little managing might help.

2007-05-18 18:42:27
133.   JL25and3
Guys...this isn't about who's a better rooter. Whether we're optimistic or pessimistic, they still can't score any runs.

110 As for the "sleepwalking" charge...if you can't get a hit, what else is it going to look like? Do you really think smashing a water cooler would help them win?

They want to win. They care.

Don't forget Damon's aggressive baserunning in the first. He got thrown out. It didn't energize the team, either.

2007-05-18 18:43:55
134.   seamus
131 are you for real? do you see a glass that is half full and see it as completely empty?
2007-05-18 18:44:41
135.   seamus
133 it shouldn't be but they were apparently upset that I was rooting for the team.
2007-05-18 18:44:51
136.   JL25and3
132 Jeter runs on his own. If he sees the opportunity, he takes it; he doesn't need Joe to tell him.
2007-05-18 18:45:29
137.   williamnyy23
133 You can take pitches...start runners...actually run out balls to first base. Also, sometimes body language carries over to performance. The Mets have Jose Reyes dancing around and Endy Chavez bopping off the field. The few time Melky caught an inning ending out, he trotted off like he was going to a funeral.
2007-05-18 18:45:45
138.   Mattpat11
133 Aggressiveness can be confused with stupidity.
2007-05-18 18:46:26
139.   williamnyy23
136 Jeter calls his own hit and runs? Torre is the manager and can put Jeter in motion.
2007-05-18 18:46:39
140.   EB in LA
"What is there to be positive about? Hopefully this is the 59 Yankees and not the 65 Yankees. Thats positive I guess. "

Maybe the 1925 Yankees. They went 69-85.

2007-05-18 18:46:49
141.   Mattpat11
134 This glass is half full?

It feels bone fucking dry.

2007-05-18 18:47:10
142.   Mattpat11
140 I'll take that.
2007-05-18 18:47:28
143.   WeMissPaulie
What do you think Andy is thinking? I feel bad for him. This is his 4th great effort....with a loss. If the guys need any motivation, they should just do it for him.
2007-05-18 18:47:56
144.   murphy
- sigh -

in terms of the energy/caring thing. it's ridiculous to say they don't care, but i must admit i am a little jealous of my met fan friends right now. while partially a shameless publicity stunt, he headshaving thing demonstrates, albeit in some silly way, that the mets are a team.

do you think you could get the yanks to all agree to ANYTHING like that? (by like that, i mean the idea of an entire team wanting to demonstrate teamsmanship in a tangible way, not silly publicity stunts)

i will now sit back and take my beating from those who do not believe in the power of intangibles.

2007-05-18 18:47:58
145.   williamnyy23
135 No one is upset that you are rooting...but that isn't a substitute for a realistic analysis. Go Yankees doesn't exactly sum up the state of the team.
2007-05-18 18:48:18
146.   WeMissPaulie
Rasner vs. Glavine tomorrow? Pray for rain.
2007-05-18 18:48:37
147.   williamnyy23
143 He's probably thinking he made a mistake.
2007-05-18 18:50:09
148.   Mattpat11
144 The issue isn't teamsmanship or team chemistry or some other ridiculous concept. Baseball is a very individual sport.


I suspect it rhymes with "bendy ducking lavez????"

Thats certainly what I was thinking.

2007-05-18 18:56:41
149.   Marcus
145 That's setting a pretty high standard for a single comment on a blog. It's a game thread. WHy not cheer for the team while they're playing?

We gone!

2007-05-18 18:59:31
150.   williamnyy23
149 Cheer away...but don't dismiss someone's honest criticism or pass rooting off as objective analysis. Wanting the Yankees to win isn't proof why you think they are going to win.
Show/Hide Comments 151-200
2007-05-18 19:05:33
151.   Mattpat11
my eyeball hurts
2007-05-18 19:13:15
152.   weeping for brunnhilde
A couple of observations about drive and caring.

I'm often very critical of the team's abject failure to execute, its penchant for striking out when the ball needs to be put in play.

That said, Giambi's at-bat was something to be positive about.

He had a very good at-bat against a very tough pitcher and struck out on an sick and unhittable pitch.

Hats off to Wagner and to Giambi, who did not give his at-bat away.

The real problem in this game came when Jeter led off with the basehit and nothing came of it.

They need to threaten in that situation, which means they need to learn how to manufacture, because manufacturing was the difference in this baseball game, as it often is in playoff-caliber games.

The Mets brought Reyes around and the Yankees failed to advance Jeter even one base.

That's what exasperates me.

What has happened to Arod? Why is he capable of such violent swings between the sublime and the hapless?

And you know what?

It occurs to me suddenly how absurd the idea of Clemens is.

He's the last thing this team needs.

Enough with the desperation already, the senile attempts to recapture past glories. It's time to develop a five-year plan.

I realize they've taken great strides these last couple of years in doing that, sloughing off Randy Johnson was vital, but why do that only to go out and get another Randy Johson?

I want to see a newly constructed team that's fundamentally sound from top to bottom, then we can worry about the bells and whistles.

2007-05-18 19:15:34
153.   Mattpat11
I need to buy a new Yankee hat for work tomorrow. Maybe that will bring some luck.

I have resorted to voodoo. Next thing you know I'll be championing team chemistry and calling Scott Podsednik a baseball player.

2007-05-18 19:33:32
154.   weeping for brunnhilde
A question about slumps: does anyone know whether or not slumps correlate with age?

I was just thinking about Damon and why it is such a good hitter can not hit and I realized that with a guy like that, it must just come down to health. When he's healthy, he hits, when he's not, he doesn't. And at his age he simply spends more time at less than full health, yet remains in the lineup not hitting.

If that's the case, then does it pay off to sign a guy like that, someone you know will play hurt a lot because he is hurt a lot rather than a younger player?

I don't know. It's just hard for me to sit back, watch (damn near) the entire team slumping and not wonder whether such a phenomenon is not simply chance, but the result of poor management.

2007-05-18 19:37:25
155.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh, and another thing: if we'd given Contreras more time to settle in, and not placed such mammoth expectations on him, do you think he could have flourished with the Yanks in time?

I think a major problem we have with our pitching is that no one's allowed to just blend into the woodwork, everyone's expected to be the next ace NOW! Weaver, Contreras, Vazquez, and oh, so, so many more.

Does anyone know if the Yanks actually have a five-year plan and if so, what it is?

It's killing me to see them just hang on like this.

Kind of like Norma Desmond.

2007-05-18 19:40:01
156.   Mattpat11
What options other than Damon were there at that point?
2007-05-18 19:45:22
157.   Mattpat11
When you sign someone to a four year deal, I think its entirely reasonable to expect something before the all star break of the third year.

Javier Vazquez has not been a productive pitcher over a full season since we've gotten rid of him.

And jeff Weaver sucks.

2007-05-18 19:47:15
158.   weeping for brunnhilde
156 Yeah, I don't know.

I'd rather see Melky out there on a full-time basis if it were part of a long-term plan.

I understand Melky's not hitting. I still feel confident about him, that he showed me enough last year to believe that he'll grow into a fine ballplayer. I don't think Damon should be let go tomorrow or anything, but I just wonder what the actual plan was behind his signing.

Because as it stands, it seems like there is no plan, like the team is run on a stop-gap basis because they think the fans won't tolerate a couple of off-years for the sake of the future.

And maybe they're right.

For my part, I'd like to see the team articulate an actual long-term plan.

I think they owe the fans that much.

2007-05-18 20:01:24
159.   weeping for brunnhilde
148 "The issue isn't teamsmanship or team chemistry or some other ridiculous concept. Baseball is a very individual sport."

With all due respect, I think this is patently untrue. Yes, of course there's an individual element, but there is a team spirit and there are intangibles. All the players talk freely about the value of "picking up your teammate" and other such things. There's a tremendous element of emotion in the game, and comfort and adrenaline, etc.

These aren't robots, they're human beings and they all have moods and anxieties and motivations, etc.

It seems to me as if people who believe that chemistry and intangibles don't exist have never played team sports before.

That's probably not the case, but it seems that way.

As a very amateur softball player, I've noticed huge differentials in my own confidence level based upon how I feel around my teammates.

Obviously you'd expect that differential to be on the average much narrower amongst professionals, but to expect that it disappears altogether across the board would seem to me to suggest a peculiar blindness to some basic facts of human nature and how people react under stress.

2007-05-18 20:11:09
160.   Mattpat11
Teams full of players that hate each other have become dynasties.

I don't think Robinson Cano decided to stop hitting because someone on the team was mean to him. I don't think Kyle Farnsworth sucks because someone don't go out to dinner with him. Go out there and hit the fucking ball.

2007-05-18 20:19:37
161.   randym77
I fear the team is being run in a stop-gap fashion. Why was Damon the only choice? Anyone with eyes could see Bernie was in decline, well before Damon was signed. If they'd planned a little better, they could have signed someone younger and/or cheaper, or gotten an almost-ready prospect or two.

We see the same thing happening now with Jorgie. He's still playing well, but given his age, they need to be planning for the future. It would pay off immediately, since fatigue is always a factor with catchers. But no, they futz around with the likes of Kelly Stinnett, Sal Fasano, and Wil Nieves.

2007-05-18 20:26:17
162.   weeping for brunnhilde
161 Hear, hear.

Exactly, we see the same thing with Jorgie right now. Not a care in the world for the morrow.

Maybe Cashman is thinking that Mike Piazza will be available in a couple of years to assume the primary catching duties and serve as a back-up DH for Giambi.

Two for one, eh?

160 You mistake me. I'm not suggesting someone insulted Robbie and therefore he can't hit.

That's a straw man.

My point is that chemistry (or whatever the hell you want to call it) does exist.

Call it morale.


It's obviously not everything but nor is it nothing.

That's really my only point.

2007-05-18 20:26:48
163.   weeping for brunnhilde
161 Hear, hear.

Exactly, we see the same thing with Jorgie right now. Not a care in the world for the morrow.

Maybe Cashman is thinking that Mike Piazza will be available in a couple of years to assume the primary catching duties and serve as a back-up DH for Giambi.

Two for one, eh?

160 You mistake me. I'm not suggesting someone insulted Robbie and therefore he can't hit.

That's a straw man.

My point is that chemistry (or whatever the hell you want to call it) does exist.

Call it morale.


It's obviously not everything but nor is it nothing.

That's really my only point.

2007-05-18 20:32:53
164.   weeping for brunnhilde
160 If you listen to the people who actually have played major league baseball (O'Neill, Leiter, Hernandez, Darling) they're constantly talking about the mental side of the game.

About what it feels like when a pitcher has your number, for instance. O'Neill (granted, he's an exceptional headcase) was just talking about how you can feel defeated before you even get into the box.

He was also talking about when it does and doesn't feel worthwhile to risk getting hit in the head by a pitch for the good of the team.

Let's say you're up at the plate late and you represent the tying run. If you have some confidence that the guys in back of you might drive you in you're probably more likely to "take one for the team," literally.

If you think the guys behind you suck and will probably strike out on three pitches anyway, you'll probably be less inclined to let the ball hit you in the shin.

And O'Neill also mentioned he'd ask the pitcher whether he'd prefer that he took a chance and dived on a close ball or would rather he play it on a hop.

That's when the idea of team is important.

Baseball's about a lot more than just hitting a baseball in a vacuum.

It's far more layered than perhaps you think.

2007-05-18 20:35:37
165.   BklynBmr
161 Carlos (cough, hack) Bel(hack, cough)tran...
2007-05-18 20:38:25
166.   weeping for brunnhilde
Oh, and speaking of Giambi, was it yesterday that he struck out in a big spot? In the ninth?

I can't remember, but lately his at-bats have been rather poor it seems. He's pretty easy to strike out. Yet against Wagner, he had one of the better at-bats I've seen him have in quite some time. He really battled, as if he was trying not to strike out.

Did anyone notice that?

Because if he's capable of battling Wagner like that, a premier pitcher, why does he seem to give away so many at-bats to far lesser pitchers?

2007-05-18 20:40:37
167.   weeping for brunnhilde
165 Yeah, what was the story with him? How much was he asking and how seriously did Cashman try to sign him, do you know?

Were there concerns about him? I can't recall how that whole situation played itself out.

2007-05-18 20:45:02
168.   weeping for brunnhilde
160 Oh, and by the way:

"Teams full of players that hate each other have become dynasties."

Hatred can be a kind of chemistry, you know.

2007-05-18 20:48:06
169.   yankz
Just got back, and I'm glad I missed it. More of the same, I see.
2007-05-18 20:50:37
170.   weeping for brunnhilde
169 It's rebroadcast on YES right now. Do you have YES?

I'm watching again to try to analyze the team's hitting woes and to see why the Mets are so successful.

2007-05-18 20:57:36
171.   Chyll Will
161 And that's the frustrating part, which has me sounding too much like JD at the moment... these issues are rather obvious to so many people EXCEPT the people who make the actual decisions, or at least there seems to be so much resistance to change from somewhere in the organization that nothing happens at the right moment. And here we are, talking about how we've got little to tide us over until the youngsters arrive. Is it insanity to expect a different outcome from repeating the same action the same way? Well, baseball is barely random enough to get away with it, but so far the results have been familiar and frustrating.

It's difficult to have anything to say in the face of such pessimism, so I'll just hang back and watch. I've grown indifferent to the play of this team, because like it or not it is what it is and I can't make any changes (or not any that anyone who matters would care to listen to.) Playing and watching is supposed to be fun, which it's not right now. However, dumping on our team is obviously not the answer, either. I shake my head in dismay for not knowing how to feel.

168 Love or hate, I think teams that have a strong passion about SOMETHING do the best. More than a common cause, but a will to lose yourself in that cause. It's not here right now, but I hope we find it soon.

2007-05-18 21:07:03
172.   Mattpat11
162 It is something its a device that people use to justify the presence of awful players on a baseball team. Bubba Crosby lasted three years in the majors because of the supposed team chemistry he brought us.
2007-05-18 21:07:18
173.   tommyl
155 Actually Vazquez thrived in NY off the bat. If you recall, before the all star break he was arguably one of the top two or three pitchers in the AL (and made the all star team) it was after the break he went to crap. Was that because the pressure suddenly ramped up more? I don't think so, maybe he was never that good to begin with, maybe he got hurt, maybe he just had issues. Its not like he's been Johan Santana since he left us.

Contreras has yet to have more than one good year for the White Sox. Weaver is just bad.

Honestly, I don't really see what we can do with this team right now. I can't blame Torre for Cano and others not hitting at all. Its not like his BP management messed this game up. Maybe he needs to get a bit more animated, but I don't know what the mood is in the clubhouse.

Sometimes I wish it could be like that Simpsons episode:

Burns, "Hit a Home Run!"

Strawberry, "You got it Skip."

Straw homers

Burns to Smithers, "I told him to do that."

2007-05-18 21:11:24
174.   weeping for brunnhilde
171 "these issues are rather obvious to so many people EXCEPT the people who make the actual decisions, or at least there seems to be so much resistance to change from somewhere in the organization that nothing happens at the right moment."

I think maybe they know perfectly well what they're doing, which is to retain the casual fan by signing high-profile superstars.

I don't actually know how they make decisions, but it seems pretty clear that it's not just about fielding the best baseball team, but it's also about marketing.

Hideki is a perfect example. I'm a big fan, but I can't help thinking that his value to the Yankees' front office is in no small part a marketing issue.

Abreu, not so much.

Damon, yes.

Clemens, yes.

Pettitte, no so much.

Arod, yes.

I don't know, maybe it's cynical, but it's hard not to think that a lot of their decisions are more about pandering to a national (or international, as the case may be) fanbase than about making the best move for the team.

2007-05-18 21:14:24
175.   JL25and3
The position players on this year's team are essentially the exact same ones that they had last year. Last year they had some devastating injuries, but the team hung in there, fighting constantly to stay in contention until they could put a full team out there - at which point they put the Red Sox away.

If there's any such thing as chemistry and heart and all that, wouldn't last year be a testament to it?

These are the same players. So what happened? Did they have a team meeting where they all decided that they were just tired of all the hard work of winning, and they'd just give up early?

2007-05-18 21:18:54
176.   tommyl
My worry here is that this will induce a panic move and we'll go back to the old way of trading everyone away for a stopgap (which won't really fix anything). Whatever happens with this year, we do have a core of young players in the minors or just in the majors who could become the foundation of another dynasty.

Yes, perhaps Cashman didn't plan perfectly this year (BUC, 1B, etc.) but can you blame him for Robbie not hitting at all? He was almost the batting champion last year. (BTW, an argument can be made that you can, since Cano never walks, when he's in a slump he is useless, as opposed to A-Rod who can still get a walk). I think a lot of this is frustration, and I know I feel it too. I want to see something done, but in this case, will it be productive? Will Mattingly managing the team do anything? Will getting rid of Cashman at this stage do anything?

2007-05-18 21:19:41
177.   tommyl
175 It was all Stinnett and Fasano ;)
2007-05-18 21:20:22
178.   weeping for brunnhilde
173 Yes, I do recall that. I guess my point is, if he was worth acquiring in the first place, he was worth giving a chance. Same with Contreras.

Weaver I suppose had more time to actually not pan out, but my point is that the whole ethos of the revolving door is poor management.

I don't know if it's a scouting thing or just bad luck or what, but it seems to me to suggest very poor management to bring in guys who are supposed to be good and somehow not one of them pans out and the ones that do (Andy, Lieber) are allowed to walk.

The whole thing just suggests an unseemly sort of desperation.

2007-05-18 21:21:48
179.   tommyl
So what happens if we lose 4 or 5 of the next games? Think Stein will have had enough?
2007-05-18 21:25:54
180.   tommyl
178 I see your point, but I wouldn't throw Contreras in there. He was given quite awhile, first it was the pressure, then it was his family not being there, then it was whatever. And I have no idea what his clubhouse presence was.

Andy should have never been allowed to walk, that's clear. Lieber hasn't been a worldbeater since he left.

I'm trying to think of what we can do with this team right now. Because if we don't pull out of this tomorrow then next week we could be 14 or 15 games out and I'm just not sure its possible to come back from that.

2007-05-18 21:27:27
181.   JL25and3
179 Odds are pretty good that Joe gets fired. It can be done with high praise, and the explanation that the team just needs to go in a new direction.

I'm putting my money on Larry Bowa. He's a George kind of guy.

2007-05-18 21:29:42
182.   Chyll Will
174 I agree in part with that, except that when Steinbrenner and his cronies were butting heads with the GM and the manager over which players to bring into the fold, it was evident to some and not to others what was needed for winning's sake. Cash is not so stupid that he doesn't know that he needs a decent BUC and a productive 1B with a decent glove. And many other GMs are not stupid enough to cave in or lend him a hand to breeding more Major Market Team Dominance. Torre has already said he'd rather not go to his BP every other minute, but what else is there to do if you can only get seven innings at best from your starter and hope you can get the same amount of innings the next go-around? And remember, not everyone even wants to play for this team, in no small part because of the drama created by ownership and dangerous media. My indifference has gradually built up due to the combination of muckraking and knee-jerk flighty reactions to adversity that may well breed the perceived indifference from the players themselves? I'm dismayed, but not throwing in the towel. But as I said before, only time will tell.
2007-05-18 21:34:25
183.   weeping for brunnhilde
179 But what can he do?

I know I've had enough.

I'm not sure what's to be done.

What the hell is up with Arod?

Was he this streaky with Texas and Seattle?

How do we construct an offense that can score consistently?

Cano and Melky get a pass from me because they're young and I'm more than willing to give them the space they need to develop.

Matsui's doing all right, though I really wish he'd remember how to hit to the opposite field. Whenever he's slumping he hits ball after weak ground ball to second base. Even his homer tonight made me uncomfortable because the pitch was not a pitch he should have been trying to pull.

When does Giambi's contract expire?



Any ideas?

2007-05-18 21:38:08
184.   BklynBmr
167 I recall was there was zero to little interest from Cashman when Beltran was a FA. One thing I read later was that after the Mutt's offer of $119M, at Beltran's instruction his agent contacted Cash and offered the same amount of years (6 or 7?), but for $99M. If this has any shred of truth, it's one of 'worst moves not made' in a long time...
2007-05-18 21:39:53
185.   weeping for brunnhilde
Kay: "Not to make fun of you, Al, but you struck out 290 times in 550 at-bats."

Leiter, deadpan, "Is that not good?"

2007-05-18 21:46:37
186.   weeping for brunnhilde
182 "And remember, not everyone even wants to play for this team, in no small part because of the drama created by ownership and dangerous media."

It's really hard for me not to think that the pressure of pitching for the Yankees is part of the Yankees' problem in finding decent starters.

Part of the point of having a plan, I think, is that it takes pressure off of individuals by letting them know where they stand.

For instance, they should have made a commitment to Melky long ago rather than flirting with the idea of trading him.

And yes, only time will tell.

2007-05-18 21:49:51
187.   weeping for brunnhilde
184 Yeah, actually I do recall that story.

I wonder what the problem was.

I know I wasn't convinced he was worth it because previously he'd only hit around .260 and his value seemed to rest on that one postseason he had.

But I'd never really seen him play, so maybe it was clear that he'd develop.

2007-05-18 21:52:43
188.   weeping for brunnhilde
Ok, if anyone's watching, here's the inning where Jeter leads off with a single and fails to advance to second base.

Let's watch...

2007-05-18 21:53:07
189.   weeping for brunnhilde
Rodriguez takes low, ball one.
2007-05-18 21:53:29
190.   weeping for brunnhilde
Takes a nasty breaking ball on the inside corner, strike one.
2007-05-18 21:53:57
191.   weeping for brunnhilde
Takes a savage swing at a hard breaking ball in the dirt.


2007-05-18 21:54:24
192.   weeping for brunnhilde
Swings right through a 92 mph fastball right down the pike.
2007-05-18 21:54:56
193.   weeping for brunnhilde
He has no business striking out on that pitch.

He needs to shorten up there.

That's why he's a bad hitter.

2007-05-18 21:55:16
194.   weeping for brunnhilde
Jorgie takes low, 1-0.
2007-05-18 21:56:23
195.   weeping for brunnhilde
Jorgie takes a nice rip at a 1-0 breaking ball, but hits it right at Reyes.

Nice at-bat.

2007-05-18 21:56:54
196.   weeping for brunnhilde
Matsui takes a big sweeping breaking ball on the outside corner. 0-1.
2007-05-18 21:57:18
197.   weeping for brunnhilde
Something in the dirt, I think, 1-1.
2007-05-18 21:57:35
198.   weeping for brunnhilde
Breaking ball misses outside, 2-1.
2007-05-18 21:59:02
199.   weeping for brunnhilde
Takes a nice rip at a breaking ball, hits a fly ball to right center.

If he'd tried to go the other way, he might have hit the ball harder, as it looked like he tried to pull an outside pitch, trying to hit the ball over the fence.

Bad at-bat.

2007-05-18 22:01:58
200.   weeping for brunnhilde
So, Jeter leads off with a single, and ten pitches later, the inning is over and Jeter remains at 1B.

That's unacceptable.

Show/Hide Comments 201-250
2007-05-18 22:02:00
201.   BklynBmr
187 My thoughts at the time were: (aside from producing in the postseason, even at the risk that was a 'one year wonder' showing) that he was young, a "5-tool" player, big upside, and at that time we needed fresh legs (defense) in center more than 40HRs and 120RBI — and still do. We needed the 49ers' Bill Walsh approach that year: 'Better to cut a guy a year early than a year late'. I love/d Bernie as much as anyone, but that was a signing you had to make. Centerfield would be locked up for the next seven years. Look what we're going through now...
2007-05-18 22:06:15
202.   weeping for brunnhilde
201 I watch the Mets pretty regularly, between innings and when the Yanks aren't playing and I must say, Beltran is amazing to watch out there. He's a thing of beauty.
2007-05-18 22:08:26
203.   yankz
Alex Rodriguez is a bad hitter? I'd hate to hear what you think about Doug Mineioodiafdz.

He might have looked bad in that AB, or he might even be a bad hitter right now, but he's not a bad hitter.

2007-05-18 22:20:52
204.   weeping for brunnhilde
203 I know. I don't literally mean he's a bad hitter, but I mean that he's not a particularly good hitter.

For all his talent, he's a pretty easy out if you make your pitches.

So yes, he's a great hitter in the sense that his mechanics are amazing and he's strong enough that solidly hit balls travel very far off of his bat.

But he's not a good hitter in the sense that he's a pretty easy strike out and very often seems to have very poor at-bats.

I sort of grade on a curve, meaning that Mentkewieciz is what he is and meaning that I'm less forgiving of poor at-bats from the likes of our stars.

I don't mind people making outs, I do mind them giving away at-bats, not even giving themselves a chance to get lucky with a blooper or seeing-eye single.

A major league hitter in that situation has to not strike out like that.

2007-05-18 22:23:39
205.   weeping for brunnhilde
203 Again, it's like Giambi's at-bat to end the game. He did the best he could, he clearly was focussed.

I'm sorry, but striking out on a 92 mph fastball right over the dish in that spot is just not acceptable from your big guy. Why didn't he shorten his swing?

2007-05-18 22:29:16
206.   weeping for brunnhilde
This at-bat by Derek, where he strikes out looking?

It reminds me an awful lot of that epic struggle he had against Percival back in 2002 when he struck out looking on an inside fastball after fouling off one 99mph fastball after another.

I don't mind him striking out looking in a spot like this because it's clear he has a plan at the plate.

He clearly determined he has a much better chance of reaching base via a walk than if he swings the bat, so he went for the walk.

He failed, which is fine.

It's not failure that bothers me, it's having careless approach that bothers me.

2007-05-18 23:09:11
207.   OldYanksFan
206 If you look at the replay, the pitch was CLOSE, but clearly outside. He should have walked, but umps are doing their part to shorten the game.
2007-05-18 23:12:29
208.   OldYanksFan
202 We have made mistakes and made good moves, but not signing Beltran was probably a huge mistake. I believe 2 reasons were at play.
1) moneywise, I think it was sign RJ -or- Beltran
2) I believe Cashman is VERY headshy about long, expensive contracts.

Not signing Beltran looks like a huge mistake, but in 3 or 4 years, he may be GOB(eltran).

2007-05-18 23:29:15
209.   weeping for brunnhilde
207 Agreed, it was outside. I don't fault Derek for taking that one; his plan was sound.

That's basically what I look for in a player--someone who figures out how to maximize his chances for success with each at-bat.

What exasperates me about Arod is that I never see him actually responding to the situation.

He's a one-plan-fits-all kind of player, which is to say he goes up there hacking and because his swing is so good, he has a lot of success, mostly fattening up on mistakes. But I so rarely see him in an at-bat where he takes a pitcher's pitch and does something with it. I really don't mean to pick on him or anything, but I just think that while his swing is perfect, his bat control is poor.

2007-05-18 23:46:27
210.   Zack
Man, my Cable/internet/phone all went out for pretty much the start of today's game until just a little while ago. And I think that was a good thing. Another game of the team simply not hitting would caus eme to do some very bad things...Oh well, as I said, I prety much see these games as rock bottom
2007-05-19 00:20:47
211.   BklynBmr
181 Let's say the Mutts sweep and we're 12-ish back, at 18-24. Joe has to be on life support by then. And what better drama in Yankeeland than to change managers before a seemingly make-or-break series against Beantown at The Stadium. I dunno. Maybe Cashman's chips will have run out in protecting Torre, and The Boss shows up again — I'd put nothing past the man and I mean that in a good way.

If, if, if — that's the case, my choice is Girardi, hands down. Bowa would be second and probably the best choice to light some much needed fire under these guys for this year... but my fear is this: you can count on a handful of managers being fired before the season is out, and unless there's a behind-the-scenes deal for Joe G. to step in next year, the Yanks will definitely lose him.

Donnie is far from ready, IMHO. Bowa would be the knee jerk opposite of Torre, which sometimes works, sometimes does not, and certainly is not a long term hire. Girardi, I think, would be a great bet — for this year and beyond. Unless there's something I don't know, which is usually the case... ;-)

Man, I love great come-from-behind pennant chases, but this one is already weary and we haven't even started yet. But maybe if the Internet was around in '78, it would have been the same...

2007-05-19 03:53:59
212.   randym77
175 "If there's any such thing as chemistry and heart and all that, wouldn't last year be a testament to it?"

Definitely. Last year was amazing, the way they hung in despite all the injuries. I loved watching that team, and I never, ever felt they were out of it.

"These are the same players. So what happened?"

But...they really aren't the same players. The "heart," if such a thing exists, came from the players who were thrilled just to be on the Yankees, who still had something to prove. The ones who were still hungry.

This is admittedly subjective, but hey, we're talking "heart." There are no stats for that. Watching last year, it seemed like when things seemed hopeless, it was often the "black hole at the bottom of the lineup" who sparked the rally. That big comeback against Texas, for example. The first hint of hope came from an Andy Phillips double, followed by a Miguel Cairo single.

I loved watching the Yanks last year, but they weren't the same team after the big deadline trades, and when ShefSui got back. Don't get me wrong, they're all good players, but it left the team with the same problem they had in previous years. They were too one-dimensional. I had a bad feeling about them, going into the postseason. For good reason, it turned out.

2007-05-19 04:22:41
213.   Shaun P
Tough loss, but them's the breaks.

211 I just don't see any way that Torre gets fired. "The Boss" is, in my opinion, gone. And besides the lack of replacement candidates available (Bowa is NOT the answer IMHO - ask any Phils fan; I'm not convinced Girardi is either), I believe a certain R. Clemens would be just a little peeved, seeing how he flat out said he wouldn't have come back to the Yanks if Torre had been fired. No, I think Torre is here to stay.

209 weeping, you never cease to amaze me. Maybe you're not 'picking' on A-Rod - instead, you're dissecting his approach at the plate and his bat control, and finding both subpar in your opinion. I read your post to say, in a subtle way, that A-Rod really isn't a great player. "[H]e goes up there hacking" - I've read this from your before, so I know you're not kidding, though it shocks me everytime that you're not - and fattens "up on mistakes" - you mean like every other hitter in MLB history? "[B]ecause his swing is so good, he has a lot of success" - meaning his success is not due to his (bad) approach, just to his sweet swing.

Yet somehow the guy has managed to hit .306/.386/.575 in his career, with 479 home runs and 836 walks.

2007-05-19 05:20:41
214.   murphy
clemens is the just the beginning of the list of players who would be pissed if torre were to get canned. he is something of a fixture around here, so while guys like jeter, posada, even giambi, etc ARE professionals and will play hard regardless, i gotta wonder if yanking torre out from under them will light a fire or sink the ship?
2007-05-19 07:54:02
215.   JL25and3
212're telling me the Yankees won last year because of Andy Phillips and Miguel Cairo? They made the team chemistry?

Or that Melky Cabrera no longer has anything to prove?

2007-05-19 07:56:22
216.   Mattpat11
215 Phillips inability to hit apparently invigorated the team.
2007-05-19 08:03:42
217.   JL25and3
209 So when Alex Rodriguez strikes out, it's because he's a mindless, clueless hacker who's saved (rather prodigiously) by having a good swing. All you have to do is throw the ball where his swing isn't, and he's helpless.

But when Derek Jeter strikes out, that's fine because he has a plan.

By the way, last year Alex Rodriguez struck out 139 times; Derek Jeter struck out 102 times. That's a difference of roughly one strikeout every four games.

But yeah, I know. Alex does it in the clutch, because he's just not thinking up there. Derek only does it in meaningless situations, because he's got a plan.

2007-05-19 08:29:29
218.   Mattpat11
Various talking heads have said over the years that when A-Rod starts to struggle, he becomes a guess hitter and does inexplicable things like sitting breaking ball.
2007-05-19 09:10:43
219.   yankz
How long until fingers get pointed at Long? I mean, 2/3 of the lineup (save Jeter, Posada, and Matsui) couldn't hit air right now.
2007-05-19 09:25:38
220.   weeping for brunnhilde
217 Mock if you want, that's certainly your prerogative. I'm just telling you what I see from watching the baseball games.

And please don't overgeneralize the observations I'm making. In this case, I was looking at one at-bat by Jeter (when he struck out in the eighth) and one at-bat by Arod (when he struck out in the sixth).

If my analysis/observations of those at-bats is faulty, please let me know how so that I might improve it.

Mockery/snideness is not an argument.

I'm actually interested in being the best watcher of baseball I can be, so if I'm misunderstanding something I'd actually like to know about it.

Is it that my analysis is wrong that bothers you or the fact that I make a sincere attempt to call 'em like I see 'em?

213 I know, Shaun. I admit I have strange standards, but I hope you can at least appreciate that they are standards, and not just caprice.

I don't know what you want me to say. I'm not talking about the career of Arod, or about his numbers.

I'm talking about what my eyes tell me as I watch the man up at the plate.

Are you telling me that taking a violent swing through a 92mph fastball with little movement right down the middle of the plate and missing is not going up there hacking?

If that's your argument, fine, but I'd like to hear your explanation for such a poor at-bat.

Unless you're arguing that the at-bat was quality?

What are you arguing?

2007-05-19 09:27:06
221.   Chyll Will
219 That would be too easy, so look for George to do that before or after the Boston series.
2007-05-19 09:34:15
222.   weeping for brunnhilde
213 Hey, Shaun, maybe this will clarify my position.

When I say that Arod is a bad hitter, what I really mean is that he runs hot and cold and that his cold is very cold and he seems helpless in the face of his own slumps.

Compare him to Jeter. Do you remember watching Jeter when he was 0-32 or whatever it was?

I remember, and I couldn't quite figure out what was wrong. His swing seemed more or less normal and basically he hit a lot of groundballs to 3B, as I recall.

But there was nothing I could pinpoint as to why he couldn't get hits.

When I watch Arod struggle, it's blaringly obvious what he's doing wrong. He's swinging at poor pitches and swinging through perfectly good ones, as he did last night.

Now I'm sorry, but if you're in a slump and someone throws you basically a bp fastball, you don't miss it.

To get out of a slump, primum noli nocere.

In other words, put the bat on the baseball, above all else.

I get so frustrated just thinking about it.

Why is it unreasonable of me to expect a major league baseball player to make contact with such a pitch?

Again I ask, why didn't he shorten his swing?

It's really that simple.

Why not?

If he shortens his swing and strikes out, I pat him on the back and tell him to hang in there.

But swinging from his heels in that spot is just the wrong thing to do, period.

It's just fundamentals I'm talking about.

Why is this so controversial?

2007-05-19 09:34:34
223.   yankz
221 Would it be so wrong? Sure, he's helped Cano and A-rod in the past. But they need him now. Where is he?
2007-05-19 09:42:38
224.   weeping for brunnhilde
Also, Shaun, I think the reason my attention is on Arod (as opposed to, say, Abreu or Matsui) because he came over billed as the best player in the game.

So my expectations are very high.

To me, being the best player in the game means you've mastered the fundamentals plus you bring power, etc.

I think Alex is an extraordinary fielder, he routinely makes plays that take my breath away.

I think his swing is a thing of beauty. He's able to hit homeruns off of really unlikely pitches. Kudos to him for that.

But hitting homeruns is contingent on making contact and when he's in a funk, I have little faith that he can do that.

So if the tying run is on second base, he's not really the guy I want up there.

I'd rather see a lineup filled with consistent .300 hitters who can manufacture runs. I know we've talked about this before and the stats say such a team is not viable.

Fair enough.

It's just exasperating watching the best hitter in baseball have so many poor-quality at-bats.

That's really my only point.

And again, a quality at-bat for me is not defined by its outcome, but rather by its approach.

Giambi's at-bat last night was very high quality. He did everything he could to succeed and just got beat. Fine, tip your cap to Wagner who through an unhittable pitch.

But Arod doesn't get beat, he flails helplessly and that's painful to watch.

2007-05-19 09:43:14
225.   Chyll Will
223 He's at home, washing his tights!
2007-05-19 09:55:01
226.   Zack
If anyone wants an infuriating distraction, read the always rediculous Selena Robert's article in the Times about how the Yankees of 98-2000 must also come under roid suspicion...
2007-05-19 09:58:17
227.   weeping for brunnhilde
226 Actually, referring to the '98-2000 team is a small pet peeve of mine; the 2001 team really needs to be included. The real break is between the 2001 and 2002 teams.
2007-05-19 10:04:08
228.   randym77
215 No, I don't think it was them in particular. But players like them gave us a more versatile, flexible team. When slugging wasn't working, they could manufacture runs. The so-called black hole at the bottom of the lineup knew they weren't going to win the game with one swing; they had to rely on their teammates.

We didn't have an all-star at every position during the dynasty years.

As for Melky...I'm not sure what to make of him. I am on the record predicting he would fall back somewhat this year, because I think he was playing a little above himself last year. Plus, it's hard for a young player to play well off the bench.

But I do wonder if he's just a little too comfortable. Last year, they had to read him the riot act during spring training, to light a fire under his butt. They felt he was slacking. The Yanks have made it clear this year that he's in no danger of being sent down. Maybe he'd play a little better if he was a little less sure of his place.

2007-05-19 10:18:32
229.   Chyll Will
223 Seriously, we've had Chambliss, Gary Denbo, Rick Down and Mattingly fom 1996-2006, now Long who was the AAA coach for three years and I'm guessing was brought up to watch Melky and Cano in particular. All-in-all, hitting coaches are more for observation and advisement, not for instruction. If you can't hit major league pitching, you belong in the minors or out of basbeall. All of these guys (save Scrabble and Nieves) have proven they can hit, so what can Long do except watch and advise? Even then, it's up to the player to listen and adjust, and if they don't then that's on the player, not the coach.

Unfortunately, the hitting coach often takes the fall for players' inability to produce or adjust. Notice how some hitting coaches can go to another team and have an immediate impact (Chambliss?), then after a while the effect seems to wear off? It's adjusting; some are better than others at doing that and that separates the average player from the star (and the winners from also-rans)...

228 And that adds another point; some players respond to pressure from the coach and some don't. A good leader knows when and how to push what buttons; i.e. if Melky and/or Cano are slacking for real, then somebody needs to push a button or two. However, it seems like a lot of stuff is either a secret or passed along anonymously. Who's in charge?

2007-05-19 10:22:18
230.   weeping for brunnhilde
228 I'm on the record as saying I'd not be at all surprised if Melky hit .320 this year.

I guess that expectation's not quite panning out, huh?

Still, I haven't lost confidence in him because there was a reason I thought him capable of hitting so well. I can't quite figure out what the difference is this year.

His success last year seemed to be up the middle. A lot of his groundballs were hit hard enough up the middle to get through. Throw in some line-drives sprayed around the field and a good batting eye and he was a tough out when he was locked in.

But this year maybe it's just that he's not locked in, because I haven't noticed a difference in his approach. He's just not hitting the ball squarely, but he's not swinging for the fences or anything.

At one point it looked to me like he was swinging at too many first pitches instead of working the count.

Maybe that's the difference, that he's not seeing enough pitchers per at-bat.

I don't know.

Anyone have any observations?

2007-05-19 10:27:31
231.   Mattpat11
228 You forgot "gritty" "spunky" and "pesky" to go along with "versatile" and "flexible" in your list of baseball code words for bad players.
2007-05-19 10:32:59
232.   yankz
Sox up 1-0 after one. Sigh.
2007-05-19 10:33:26
233.   Chyll Will
228 Reiterating my point, some players do and some players don't respond to coaching; some agree with passive leadership, some respond to aggressive coaching. Some need it more than others. What can we say about Melky? Is there enough of a sample-size to suggest, if not imply what level of motivation he has? And... what players on this team respond best to the type of coaching that presently exists?

That's something the GM should take into consideration when assembling the roster. Of the four people responsible for players on the roster now (Buck Showalter, Gene Michae, Bob Watson, Brian Cashman), who had the strongest and most positive impact on the team's ability to win, and why?

I pick Stick for assembling the talent (with Buck in tow) and Watson was best at finding role players to blend in with the core players. Cashman in my opinion has been hampered too much by Tampa's interference, and as a result has been left with little to work with, but his evaluation of talent is in question.

2007-05-19 10:43:25
234.   weeping for brunnhilde
233 One thing that should be taken into consideration, though, is what exactly we want Melky to do.

For instance, with Giambi, if I were his coach, my goal would be to get him to go the other way.

I guarantee you that if Giambi did that he'd be a better (i.e., more reliable) hitter.

If I were coaching Rodriguez, I'd try to get him to think more about the situation and when it pays to play pepper and when it pays to swing violently.

Matsui I'd try to teach not to try to pull that outside pitch.

But Melky?

I can't quite figure out what his problem is.

So motivation is important, but motivation to do what? Hitting should be broken down to concrete goals, it's usually not just a question of not being motivated in a general sense.

What is it we want to motivate Melky to do differently?--that's the question.

2007-05-19 10:44:23
235.   Mattpat11
I've come to the realization that Boston will never lose again.
2007-05-19 10:52:51
236.   JL25and3
224 Fair point on the tone of my post. It came out of my increasing frustration with a couple of themes I read repeatedly, and it shouldn't have been directed at you. Next time I'll try a couple of deep breaths first.

One theme is the idea that when Derek Jeter does something, it's because he's brilliant and fiery; if Alex Rodriguez does the same, it's because he's an underahieving mutt. That's an exaggeration, obviously, and it's not really a point you were making, in any case - again, my apologies.

It's an argument that I particularly hate because I absolutely love Derek Jeter. But many fans insist on ascribing to him an almost godlike level of intangible clutchitudeness, to the extent that it obscures, behind a mythical haze, the things I really do value in him. (Again - not your point, just my frustration.)

Here's the ground where I think we can agree: Jeter brings a sort of consistency that Rodriguez doesn't, or at least hasn't for the last year. On the other hand, Rodriguez gets on base more and hits for way more power than Jeter does. Jeter helps provide a steady momentum, but he can't carry a team single-handed for weeks at a time, as Rodriguez can.

Perhaps Ted Williams could do both at will, but there aren't many others who could. People say that Ichiro! could hit for power if he wanted to, but he chooses to stick to his game. I don't know if I believe that - and if it's true, he's making a big mistake - but let's assume that it really is true. You'd think that, in the ninth inning of a close game, he'd decide to adjust his approach and try to jack the ball out of the park. But he doesn't; presumably he believes that, in the long run, changing his approach would detract from what he does best.

Sure, when he's in this deep a slump, I'd like to see Rodriguez shorten up a little - but I'd want to know the cost. If a more Jeter-like approach would help him make contact but sacrifice those extra home runs and walks, I say swing away.

The other theme that has been frustrating me is reading too much into the minds of the players. There, too, your post was fairly restrained, and again, I apologize. But this post is way too long already, so I'll hold off for now.

2007-05-19 10:54:55
237.   Jersey
235 LOL It definitely seems that way lately, don't it?
2007-05-19 10:55:19
238.   JL25and3
234 We have to at least entertain the idea that Melky was playing way over his head last year.
2007-05-19 10:56:39
239.   Shaun P
weeping, you and I see the game differently. You're frustrated because, when A-Rod is in a funk, you don't like A-Rod's "approach". I don't care what his approach is - the guy is a freakin' awesome hitter, and I trust that he'll get his job done enough of the time to make a difference. I also don't think any of us can know his approach, or any other ball player's approach - we're not in his shoes or in his head, we don't see what he sees, how he sees it, or know what he knows, and any guesses as to his approach are based on outcomes - that is, whether he swings or not, and whether he misses or not, and what happens to a ball he does put in play.

We'll just have to agree to disagree.

2007-05-19 11:00:44
240.   Shaun P
230 FWIW weeping, we do agree on Melky. I too thought he'd hit over .300 this year, and other than "he's trying too hard", I don't know what's wrong with him either. He's hitting the ball well in May though, so maybe it was just one of those adjustment periods. The pitchers do know him better now after having seen him so much last year.

235 Nah. They'll lose. Be patient!

2007-05-19 11:03:41
241.   Shaun P
236 Those are some great points JL, and I have been feeling similar frustrations myself. Thanks for articulating them so well.

weeping, I hope you didn't take anything bad away from any of my posts, but if you did, I certainly apologize.

2007-05-19 11:07:16
242.   weeping for brunnhilde
236 Thanks for the thoughts and apologies, JL, no worries. I understand the frustration.

I agree about wanting to know the long-term costs to changing his approach, but I have to say I'm not convinced it's so difficult as you think it is.

I don't know, of course, but I feel like I see a lot of very good players who are able to make those kinds of adjustments when need be. Matsui, for instance, used to go the other way more often. So did Giambi, for that matter, who I think hit the ball to left-center a lot more before he came to the Bronx.

Maybe it's a national league thing, I don't know, but I feel like I see a fair number of players who are able to shorten up, go up the middle, etc.

I notice these things by contrast to what the Yanks do, so that I'll see a guy hit a line drive the other way off of a tough pitch running down and away from him and just marvel at the bat control.

It's rare that I see the Yankees go down and turn pitchers' pitches into line drives and it seems like that's the kind of skill that wins baseball games on a consistent basis.

It's one thing to watch Steve Balboni or Dave Kingman go up with a hit or miss approach, but I expect a bit more from a guy of Arod's talent.

I don't at all mind that he's hit one homerun since April because I think homeruns are overrated. Far better to have consistency.

At least, I far prefer to watch that kind of baseball, but maybe that's a matter of taste.

The Mets the other night managed to rally for 5 runs in the ninth without a homerun.

That, to me, is baseball.

Remember how California ate us up in 2002? Singling us to death?

I really think that kind of baseball is vastly underrated.

2007-05-19 11:17:56
243.   JL25and3
226 I saw that article, too. Writing a column on a regular basis must be hard when you don't have anything worthwhile to say.
2007-05-19 11:20:19
244.   weeping for brunnhilde
241 No, not at all, Shaun, thank you.

I guess we do see the game differently, and that's fine. I just can't bear to watch poor at-bats, they make me cringe, like finger nails on a blackboard.

I agree with you, Alex will contribute again and when he does, he'll be a monster. I just don't like the streaky thing. I prefer consistency. I'd rather see fewer homeruns and a higher average. I'd rather see a guy who can drive in a run a game for ten games than a guy who can drive two five rbi games in ten games.

It's a matter of taste.

One thing, though, as to judging a guy's approach. If what you're saying were true, there'd be no need of coaches and no way to teach baseball.

Most of what I say about approach comes from two places: 1) What I learned in little league and 2) The insights of player-commentators like Leiter, Hernandez, Darling, etc.

These guys seem to know what they're talking about, about execution, technique, etc., and they're constantly talking about things like overswinging or poor pitch selection or not having a plan.

I'm not trying to read anyone's mind so much as watching their at-bat and offering my feelings about what they might do to improve, or "make adjustments."

I don't know, it's just that if you listen to Hernandez for a while you get a pretty good sense of "approach" as a very concrete thing.

It all goes back to fundamentals.

I guess my basic point is that in the game today so many superstars are able to just ignore fundamentals because they can hit the ball out and because the fans don't expect them to be fundamentally sound anymore.

It's truly amazing to me to see how many players are fundamentally unsound.

Constantly trying to pull that outside pitch, even if the winning run is on second base, is fundamentally unsound.


I find that dismaying.

2007-05-19 11:42:43
245.   Chyll Will
244 "Constantly trying to pull that outside pitch, even if the winning run is on second base, is fundamentally unsound."

And insane. I wish they could talk to us, but considering the available medium and the dearth of objectivity, the Jeter De-proach To Media is probably the best way to handle it. But wow it's frustrating to watch this.

2007-05-19 11:54:06
246.   JL25and3
244 Be careful what you sih for. The Yankees started out 8-6 this year - not great, but not bad considering that almost their entire starting rotation was sidelined. Alex Rodriguez was more or les singlehandedly responsible for their record being as good as it was. The more consistent, less explosive player that you want could not have done that.

There's a place on a championship for both - and the 1996-2001 teams had plenty of streaky hitters (Tino Martinez and Bernie Williams come to mind).

I'd be more likely to agree with you if it were a lesser player. But Rodriguez's hot streaks are so devastating that he really can carry a team, win game after game, all by himself. I'd be awfully damn reluctant to give that up.

I also think that we're seeing him at his worst. Over the course of a season, I still believe that he'll level out.

2007-05-19 11:55:17
247.   JL25and3
"Sih for????" I know I make typos, but that's just ridiculous. Of course, I meant "Be careful what you swih for."
2007-05-19 12:00:13
248.   Chyll Will
I swih for more objectivity so we can find out what the hell is going on in these guys' sdaeh!
2007-05-19 12:04:46
249.   weeping for brunnhilde
246 Fair enough.

You may well be right, as far as the long term goes.

I guess for me I just find his at-bats during slumps far more exasperating than I find his at-bats during streaks pleasurable.

Again, it's a matter of taste.

I get off on watching a guy fight off a tough pitch after a 12-pitch at-bat.

I like the guy who goes up there battling like his life depended on his not striking out.

2007-05-19 16:26:28
250.   marc
horrible swing, horrible mechanics buy that lucky gust of wind coming off the ground got A-Rod a hit

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